Integration World Day 1: Karl-Heinz Steibich keynote

Well, not really day 1: there were classes yesterday, but this is the first day of the Integration World conference per se. Someone in webMethods management must have a serious love for electric guitars, since the prize at last night’s reception was a Gibson Les Paul guitar, and a loud (for 8:30am) rock band was on stage to open the conference. My ears are still ringing.

Mark Jeffries of webMethods led off this marathon 2-hour keynote session, then Karl-Heinz Streibich, CEO of Software AG, was up to talk about the combined corporate structure and their general future plans. He showed the evolution of the software industry, from build to buy to compose, and how Software AG sits directly on that infrastructure space focused on composite applications. It’s not like companies are throwing away all the applications and infrastructure that were built (or bought), but the growth is in the composition area. This growth, plus the webMethods acquisition, will push Software AG into the $1B revenue range next year (although those are, unfortunately, rapidly declining $US 🙂 ).

I attended the BPM Advisory Council breakfast prior to this, and had an interesting discussion with a couple of large (and long-time) webMethods customers about how webMethods stacks up in the BPM space. Clearly (to me, anyway), they’re behind the curve in terms of the pure BPM technology, but they play to their strengths in the integration end of things. The customers pooh-poohed the BPM vendors that don’t provide the whole integration stack as "just calling individual services", which is a bit of a simplistic view, but considering that these customers are coming from the traditional EAI-type usage of webMethods, it’s understandable. When you’re modernizing your legacy systems, there needs to be something in there to allow you to easily plug into those old systems using a web services interface, and that’s provided by webMethods. The Software AG acquisition will allow them to strengthen those linkages for Adabas/Natural applications, which are technologies still well-represented within large organizations.

2 thoughts on “Integration World Day 1: Karl-Heinz Steibich keynote”

  1. What do these types of ‘platform’ vendors make of domain-specific vendors who are producing composite products? My own example is a product called Rapport from International Decision Systems (IDS); it a loan/lease origination system, which each buyer configures to, among other things, define your own processes and business rules. It also uses Web Services to connect to other systems, internal or external.

    My employer has just purchased the product, so I will be part of that configuration process, but our customer checks showed that the product does work as advertised. I would like to hear what you think of this kind of product.

  2. David, since the platform vendors feel that they can cover all domains, they don’t see a need for the domain-specific vendors so typically don’t even consider them as competition, from what I can tell.

    In general, most companies have many more processes than just their targetted line of business processes (such as loan origination), so could benefit from a BPM platform that can be used anywhere in the enterprise. In terms of BPM, I tend to stay away from domain-specific solutions unless there is a really clear reason why this can’t be done with a more general-purpose tools.

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